Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Verizon Wireless Changes Privacy Policy

samzenpus posted about 3 years ago | from the changing-the-rules dept.

Privacy 204

First time accepted submitter flash2011 writes "Recently Verizon changed its home internet TOS to by default share your location with advertisers. Now Verizon Wireless has also changed its privacy policy to by default share your web browsing history, cell phone location and app usage as well. Whilst there have been a few stories on these changes, internet forums have largely been quiet. Where is the outrage? Or have we just come to accept that ISPs are going to sell our personal information and web browsing habits?"

cancel ×

204 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

There is no such thing as God. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37734996)

Why is it a prerequisite to be religious to be president? Our country is screwed.

Re:There is no such thing as God. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37735012)

yes
we must impeach Verizon
worst president ever.

Re:There is no such thing as God. (2, Funny)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | about 3 years ago | (#37735498)

Vote for Saint Vidicon of Cathode, he is a main component of the resistance!

Is it even really worth fighting anymore? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37735014)

They're all going to collect some type of data from its users and sell it. The question now is - Are they putting peoples' names next to that data or are they just looking at log files, counting how many times the person, or group of persons in a region, access that data at any given time?

I'm just pissed that I don't get a cut of that cash they're making by selling info about what I do (not that I have any Verizon services).

Re:Is it even really worth fighting anymore? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37735046)

In theory they would use the extra profit from selling your data to provide better/cheaper services (or just more advertising) than their competitors to increase their market share to further gather even more data to sell.

Re:Is it even really worth fighting anymore? (3, Insightful)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | about 3 years ago | (#37735140)

Sure. If they had competitors. They hardly do. It is not a highly competitive market.

Re:Is it even really worth fighting anymore? (1)

jhoegl (638955) | about 3 years ago | (#37735218)

Actually, I am not outraged because they offer a choice. Yes or no. I choose no.

Now... if this turns out to be a front, where they are still snooping my data... then yes, outrage will be had.

Re:Is it even really worth fighting anymore? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37735296)

sucks to be you. I have a choice of about 20 ISP's where I live.

Re:Is it even really worth fighting anymore? (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 3 years ago | (#37735408)

How wonderful. I have exactly two working choices - DSL from my phone company, or dial up from a third party. Or, I COULD get satellite, and watch my lag shoot higher than the satellites orbit. End of choices, for me. And, others in this country have fewer choices than I have. Satellite doesn't exactly work everywhere, and DSL is not available in all locations.

Re:Is it even really worth fighting anymore? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37735450)

You have a third choice: get some real live pussy and tap it instead of posting to slashdot and jacking off to internet porn.

Re:Is it even really worth fighting anymore? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37735098)

You can either a) lobby for a law that protects your privacy or b) lobby for a law to tax them and get you your cut. The choice is yours ;)

Re:Is it even really worth fighting anymore? (2)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | about 3 years ago | (#37735102)

Well with the browsing history we now know when you see my manager's phone and there's advertisements for pig porn. I mean we always *knew*, but now there's proof, if he has a Verizon phone at least.

Re:Is it even really worth fighting anymore? (1)

eviljolly (411836) | about 3 years ago | (#37735222)

You know, if they gave me an option of a $1 or $2 discount on my bill where they sold this information, I'd be totally ok with that. The thing is, they're just going to make more money and we'll never see a dime in savings for sacrificing our privacy.

Re:Is it even really worth fighting anymore? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37735336)

try $100 to $200 for each bit (and I do mean bit) of data. Make it outrageously expensive for them to sell it.
Since it's personally identifiable information, it's illegal for them to collect and distribute it... HIPPA laws and all that.

Re:Is it even really worth fighting anymore? (1)

shadowfaxcrx (1736978) | about 3 years ago | (#37735522)

Verizon is your doctor? HIPPA laws only apply to healthcare providers. Verizon can collect your data as long as they tell you they're doing it and give you the option to tell them to quit.

Re:Is it even really worth fighting anymore? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37735824)

They recorded that I visited WebMD.

Use a firewall (2, Informative)

ZP-Blight (827688) | about 3 years ago | (#37735018)

That's what I do on my android phone.
I have DroidWall installed and I simply block unwanted "services" from internet access.
There's other alternatives on android, such-as "freezing" services.

Re:Use a firewall (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37735042)

Is a firewall particularly useful in this instance. All of the information that they are providing to third parties comes between your phone and Verizon's first gateway. They don't need to install an app. They can just watch the information as it flows through their pipes.

Re:Use a firewall (1)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | about 3 years ago | (#37735152)

No; you need to set up a secure tunnel to a non-verizon proxy and do your browsing that way. (Maybe you can opt out until they lobby to get those laws changed.) Like with shopping, privacy costs more than non-privacy.

Re:Use a firewall (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37735370)

No; you need to set up a secure tunnel to a non-verizon proxy and do your browsing that way.

So, you would want this to be stronly encrypted with AES, and integrated into the phone.

Wait a minute, RIM came up with that about A DECADE AGO with their blackberry enterprise server (BES) platform. And you can get a BES for free:

http://us.blackberry.com/apps-software/business/server/express/ [blackberry.com]

I continue to be dumbfounded why RIM doesn't emphasize security & privacy, and the risks consumers face with other mobile platforms.

Re:Use a firewall (2)

Gutboy (587531) | about 3 years ago | (#37735578)

Re:Use a firewall (3, Interesting)

narcc (412956) | about 3 years ago | (#37735800)

RIM can't give out keys for BES users because they don't have them

If you're on BES, you're secure. Neither RIM nor any government can access your data.

Re:Use a firewall (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37735044)

That'd be fantastic except I suspect they're doing it on their end, rather than on yours.

Re:Use a firewall (3, Informative)

gimmebeer (1648629) | about 3 years ago | (#37735050)

A firewall won't prevent your ISP from telling advertisers that you like to google Nike shoes and them then targeting you with advertisements... that is information upstream of your local connection. At best, you could use it to try to block ads from certains domains from loading. SSL or a VPN is a better alternative, but it's not always available. At the end of the day, it's just your ISP selling you to advertisers to make even more money at your expense. The outrage is present, there are simply fewer real alternatives these days.

Re:Use a firewall (3, Informative)

ScrewMaster (602015) | about 3 years ago | (#37735114)

A firewall won't prevent your ISP from telling advertisers that you like to google Nike shoes and them then targeting you with advertisements...

Well, an outgoing firewall can help prevent malware (which ISPs love to install on your equipment) from getting out. But there's an easier way, if you're concerned about your browser habits being tracked by your ISP. For example, you like to use Google for your search, just type this into your Location bar:

https://www.google.com

End-to-end encryption keeps them from knowing squat about your browsing habits other than the fact that you prefer Google. Of course, Google knows all.

Re:Use a firewall (1)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | about 3 years ago | (#37735166)

Re:Use a firewall (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37735394)

While https everywhere will prevent them from knowing you Google Nikes, it won't prevent them from knowing you hit Google.com, and then hit Nike.com. That information is still quite valuable.

Re:Use a firewall (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37735246)

Securing your browsing is also good advice for anyone who wants to use the "free wifi" provided by stores and the like. It's not just the normal unencrypted-browsing threat: stores are now tracking your web browsing (and web searches) as well. I know; I've written some of the code for it. The next wave of development will involve tying that back to the customer's loyalty card or other store account. They will use it for advertising purposes.

Re:Use a firewall (1)

webnut77 (1326189) | about 3 years ago | (#37735576)

https://www.google.com

End-to-end encryption keeps them from knowing squat about your browsing habits other than the fact that you prefer Google. Of course, Google knows all.

You'll have to run your own DNS or else they'll still know.

Re:Use a firewall (3, Informative)

niftydude (1745144) | about 3 years ago | (#37735104)

That doesn't work - they are basically using their routers to snoop on the traffic as you browse. The only way to prevent that is to use a vpn to some proxy somewhere, but then whoever supplies internet to that proxy can snoop on that traffic...

Re:Use a firewall (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 3 years ago | (#37735196)

While, for the reasons you give, a firewall is useless against your ISP, it does have some virtues:

With the 'apps' that all the kids are going on about these days, it is pretty likely that several parties are attempting to 'monetize' everything they can. Your cell carrier has massive built-in advantages(your packets flow through them, they can trivially triangulate your handset per E991 requirements); but this also makes it likely that their dataset will be a premium product(The Feds, and reasonably deep-pocketed advertisers only). The little guys have to make do with whatever information their 'apps' can sneak off your phone; but that information is likely to end up in the worst of bottom-feeding circles. A firewall is a perfectly sensible precaution against questionably trusted, or overtly undesired, network behavior by applications or web page elements.

Second, if you are more serious about keeping Verizon out of your packets, you'll need a VPN to an endpoint controlled by you, ideally on some other ISP entirely. A firewall isn't a bad precaution to ensure that assorted incompetent or malicious local programs aren't ignoring the tun interface and still chatting over the hostile one...

In general, though, trying to fight your ISP is a really questionable idea.

Re:Use a firewall (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | about 3 years ago | (#37735236)

Your firewall doesn't prevent your provider from knowing which tower is closest to you.

Re:Use a firewall (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37735466)

So.. you don't understand what a firewall does. That's ok, but I need you to turn in your geek card.

Eating your own dog food. (3, Interesting)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 3 years ago | (#37735026)

I'm already reading about how more and more companies are exposing our privacy in order to make an extra buck. But what I want to know is this. How does the top executive staff feel about them and their own family members having to eat their own dog food. Or...do they???

Re:Eating your own dog food. (4, Insightful)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | about 3 years ago | (#37735100)

The top executive staff, for the most part, is not us. They do not think like us, because if they did they would be unlikely to make it to a corporate executive or board of directors position. They do not act like us. Some of them may be very good people, and all of them are likely both driven and very fortunate, but it is a mistake to think that they think like us, or that their fears are the same as ours. Some of them are the same--but only some.

The personality type of a driven businessperson tends to be different than that of a driven (or non-driven) engineer.

Not always. But based on anecdotal evidence, I believe it to be true.

Re:Eating your own dog food. (2)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 3 years ago | (#37735150)

Given that people in power tend to have more psychopathic traits than the average person, your point is well taken.

Re:Eating your own dog food. (2)

jimpop (27817) | about 3 years ago | (#37735200)

People in power also tend to get more exceptions than the rest of us. I would bet $100 that, if the CEO of VZ has an Android phone, the Facebook app on his/her phone doesn't have a VZ forced-installed, bloatware, always-running Android Service called FacebookUploader.

Re:Eating your own dog food. (1)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | about 3 years ago | (#37735710)

I would take that bet. I'm sure the Verizon CEO is completely oblivious to what his phone does or does not have and therefore would never in a million years think to ask for it to be removed.

Re:Eating your own dog food. (1)

jimpop (27817) | about 3 years ago | (#37735744)

True... but the people who work for him/her what them to be the last one to experience any outage/vulnerability/issue, and therefore that person/group/etc often gets what most others don't. 1% vs 99%

Re:Eating your own dog food. (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 3 years ago | (#37735262)

I suspect that many of them have a general level of inherent-displeasure-at-privacy-loss much closer to that of Joe Sixpack than to your Slashdot EFF member.

More specifically, though, I think that it is very important to note that, in a great many cases, it isn't the dogfood itself that freaks people out; but the plausible and likely sequelae of the dogfood. A lot of these sequelae are economic, which means that their severity just evaporates as you move up the food chain.

Consider: every time some article comes up on Slashdot about using personalized genome sequencing to predict disease, the following happens:
1. TFA: The Biocorp Sequencotron 5000 can sequence your sequences in only 20 minutes!
2. "Y'know, it actually would be pretty useful to know what I'm predisposed to, and adjust certain medical testing and lifestylefactors accordingly"
3. "And by "adjust", you mean have at least one pre-existing-condition identified and never have health insurance again?

A lot of "slippery slope/plausible near future/etc." "drawbacks" to these technologies just don't apply to the people driving them. Not because the technologies themselves don't; but because the drawbacks only bite under social conditions to which they aren't subject.

Who's going to be on the pointy end of "Verizon WorkForce Information System", which offers to provide location data on where company issued drone-phones are? The board? Not likely. The cube chattel? You betcha.

Re:Eating your own dog food. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37735452)

Well, they'd look at it like this -- they've just sold off a little privacy of themselves and their family for millions of dollars.

Dog food tastes just awesome at the rates they're paid.

Re:Eating your own dog food. (3, Interesting)

siddesu (698447) | about 3 years ago | (#37735676)

You surely remember the brouhaha that ensued a few years ago when one of those semi-serious online news outfits -- El Reg or The Inq I think -- assembled assembed and published a profile about one of the Google founders that included things like home address, money he made last year, etc. The guy was absolutely pissed and bitched about it for a long time, cut the outfit's access to press events and what not. I also recall Mark Suckerberg also having a fit about his private photos or whatever that someone leaked off his page -- that was maybe a year or so ago.

So it seems that managers are reacting pretty much like everyone else -- when something is making them money, they think it is good, and when the same thing affects them badly, they do the mental reconciliation arithmetic and jump at the messenger instead of the problem.

Yes, you may as well accept it (0)

countertrolling (1585477) | about 3 years ago | (#37735032)

These people will have their way with you, and you will like it! And if you don't, too bad. Whatever policy they have will be a sham, so why not just tell the truth and sell you out? Whaddya gonna do about it, eh? You gonna switch? To whom? HAHAHAHA...

Opt out (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37735034)

I use Verizon for both cell phone and internet. Anyone care to share how you go about opting out? Thanks.

Re:Opt out (4, Informative)

dukeblue219 (212029) | about 3 years ago | (#37735062)

vzw.com/myprivacy

Just login and click a few buttons. It was actually really quick and painless for me.

WTF (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37735036)

This is unacceptable!

TIME FOR WORKERS REVOLUTION! (-1, Troll)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | about 3 years ago | (#37735038)

Expropriate the capitalists and establish a workers government! Forward to a socialist planned economy! That is the only solution folks. Otherwise capitalism and its wars will kill us all!

Re:TIME FOR WORKERS REVOLUTION! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37735144)

Cool story bro.

Re:TIME FOR WORKERS REVOLUTION! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37735938)

if fascism and communism are the two choices I have, then I have no choice at all.

Verizon just gave you a free cancel option (5, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | about 3 years ago | (#37735074)

If you're locked into a Verizon contract, Verizon just gave you the option to cancel without paying a penalty. They've made a material change in the terms, and you now have the right to exit the contract. [consumerist.com]

Re:Verizon just gave you a free cancel option (1)

MacDork (560499) | about 3 years ago | (#37735130)

I was considering signing up for Verizon. Not now. Has anyone contacted Sen. Charles Schumer [slashdot.org] about this? This is much bigger than OnStar.

Re:Verizon just gave you a free cancel option (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37735164)

Don't be surprised if they tell you that your old contract (with its original terms) still applies and the new terms won't apply until your contract is over. So no free out.

Of course they still rape your privacy anyway.

Re:Verizon just gave you a free cancel option (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#37735582)

I doubt they'd risk that. It's cheaper for them to let the few people out of their contracts that don't agree to the terms than it is to hold off on the service or figure out who is and isn't governed by the new rules.

Re:Verizon just gave you a free cancel option (0)

boarder8925 (714555) | about 3 years ago | (#37735190)

You only have 60 days from July 1st to make the cancellation because after that it is assumed that you have accepted any change to the contract.

Sure, I'll just travel back in time to 30 August 2011 so I can avoid paying the early-termination fee.

Re:Verizon just gave you a free cancel option (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37735284)

RTFA. That link describes a previous policy change related to new fees. OP used that link because it describes the mechanism by which you can get out of your contract.

Re:Verizon just gave you a free cancel option (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37735862)

Not big on reading comprehension, are we?

Well I for one (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 3 years ago | (#37735082)

Am glad I am too poor to afford Verizon service any more, you are much harder to track when your phone boasts SMS as its top feature

Re:Well I for one (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | about 3 years ago | (#37735124)

Am glad I am too poor to afford Verizon service any more, you are much harder to track when your phone boasts SMS as its top feature

Yeah. Face it, the higher the technology, the sharper that two-edged sword.

Hm. You know, that wouldn't be a bad tagline.

Re:Well I for one (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 3 years ago | (#37735134)

From the telco's perspective, not really.

"The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has several requirements applicable to wireless or mobile telephones:[3] Basic 911: All 911 calls must be relayed to a call center, regardless of whether the mobile phone user is a customer of the network being used. E911 Phase 1: Wireless network operators must identify the phone number and cell phone tower used by callers, within six minutes of a request by a PSAP. E911 Phase 2 95% of a network operator's in-service phones must be E911 compliant ("location capable") by December 31, 2005. (Several carriers missed this deadline, and were fined by the FCC.[4]) Wireless network operators must provide the latitude and longitude of callers within 300 meters, within six minutes of a request by a PSAP.[5] Accuracy rates must meet FCC standards on average within any given participating PSAP service area by September 11, 2012 (deferred from September 11, 2008).[6] Location information is not only transmitted to the call center for the purpose of sending emergency services to the scene of the incident, it is used by the wireless network operator to determine to which PSAP to route the call."

The major cut-off is between the handsets that are more or less purely dumb radios and the ones with GPS hardware onboard that can assist you in finding them.

The bigger news, with smartphones and cellular data plans and whatnot, is that wireless carriers are now sufficiently large ISPs that they've seen room for profitable evil in doing ISP stuff.

Re:Well I for one (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 3 years ago | (#37735186)

yea but that is a bunch more effort than sending a packet to the internet, and my phone is just a dumb radio

Re:Well I for one (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#37735588)

I remember in the past being able to turn off the GPS on my phone. I'm not sure if it's a coincidence, nefarious or reasonable, but my signal strength got significantly worse whenever I would disable it. Of course that was years ago.

Re:Well I for one (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 3 years ago | (#37735350)

Am glad I am too poor to afford Verizon service any more...

And that brings up a good point: Isn't this part and parcel to being that "connected"?

I do not own a "smart phone", because those types of functions are not things I need on a phone. And so what? You want to be tied to your computer 24/7? There's a price to pay.

Solution:

Slow down, smell the coffee, buy a net book or tablet and understand that the Internet will be there when you get home / to work / to the coffee shop with the free wi-fi.

Re:Well I for one (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37735486)

if i need to carry a phone anyway, i don't really want to also carry a tablet or netbook just in case i want internet access occasionally while i'm out and about.

once you get to a point where "being able to look something up online" is a useful feature to have while you're out and about, you might as well upgrade your device-you-carry-everywhere-already to include it.

i don't yet have a smart phone, but it's starting to seem like maybe it's just a matter of time until i do.

Re:Well I for one (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 3 years ago | (#37735574)

funny, I have never had that problem in the 32 years I have been around, maybe its because for the majority of my life there was no internet and a computer weighed as much as a car.

its like those amazon commercials, why the fuck would I go to a store to snap a barcode on a bag of diapers just to order it online? This thinking baffles me, I already spent the time and gas to go to a store, is it really worth the 1$ savings at that point? Looking stuff up? I do that before I even leave, that way I dont have to fumble with a crappy touch screen trying to read crap off of a playing card.

Yea its "get off my lawn" but I have really never seen anyone do anything with these expensive phones with their outrageous plans, is it really worth 80+ bucks a month to look at goofy youtube videos on break, look up what song that was you wont remember 2 hours later, or save yourself a few seconds of thought and planning ahead?

For me no, no its not.

Re:Well I for one (4, Insightful)

rtb61 (674572) | about 3 years ago | (#37735528)

That is a failed idea. Thin edge of the wedge. You think they wont shift this idea of recording and selling all your browser habits from you fixed connection. You think they wont start intercepting all your emails, analysing the content for psychological marketing manipulation and farming those email addresses, you think they wont intercept your content and add there own. You think they wont start intercepting VOIP and, all the calls you make.

How about as a business, all your contacts are now going to be farmed, all your business knowledge sold off to competitors. Hell, why stop their. The most profitable business tactic would be to intercept all, 'ALL', email tenders, and route that data to ISP preferred contractors.

So the idea is to fight it at the beginning. Absolutely any and every challenge of personal and business privacy should be challenged and challenged hard right at the beginning. Any company that refuses should be shattered, broken up, it's parts sold off to competitors and the corporate executives should enjoy a federal holiday at government expense for quite a few years.

This is extraordinary dangerous interception of private traffic and a real crack down is required.

Re:Well I for one (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37735646)

Hell, why stop their.

I'm sorry, what? Why stop their what?

mod u-p (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37735094)

pa4er towels [goat.cx]

Would this invalidate contracts? (1)

martok (7123) | about 3 years ago | (#37735106)

I am not sure how it works in the US, but here in Canada when a celco changes its terms, it allows the end user to cancel his contract without an ECF. That is, unless the celco agrees to honour the terms of the original contract as signed for its duration. So assuming the 2 year contract also says something to the effect of user agrees with the privacy policy, I would argue that makes the privacy policy part of the contract and is thus grounds for cancelation. Thoughts?

New anti-privacy trends? (5, Interesting)

ErichTheRed (39327) | about 3 years ago | (#37735116)

Is it just me, or are most of the technological innovations in the last decade mainly about monetizing consumer behavior tracking?

Google has an entire ecosystem built up around you using their "free" services in exchange for mining your data to improve search results and advertising clickthroughs. Facebook takes it another step and explicitly states that all your personal data is for sale to advertisers. Amazon has all sorts of creepy analytics sorting through your purchase and shopping history, and now they will have full access to Kindle Fire users' web browsing habits. If the late 90s through early 2000s was the dotcom bubble, the late 2000s through the early 2010s appears to be the customer marketing data bubble. Who knows what will come of this...

What I don't get is why this data is so useful to advertisers. I've almost never bought anything based solely on an ad. Maybe other people are more easily manipulated, but generally I need to try something first or have a real (non-marketroid) person give me a recommendation before I give money away to someone. I'm one of those annoying skeptics in the IT department who take vendor-sponsored "whitepapers" on products with a grain of salt. I guess advertising works on some subset of the population....otherwise businesses wouldn't waste money on it.

We'll see what happens with the privacy thing as well. Either the Web 2.0 crowd is going to completely take over and there will be zero privacy in any aspect of one's life, or people might start realizing that Google and Facebook don't just put these cool services out there for free. I'm not a tinfoil hat guy, but I really don't want the kind of hyper-targeted advertising that knowing my location, presumably my credit score and browsing history would present. Problem is that for every one of me, there 10 million others who don't care or just click I Agree to the new terms because they want the cool service.

Re:New anti-privacy trends? (4, Insightful)

syousef (465911) | about 3 years ago | (#37735238)

Is it just me, or are most of the technological innovations in the last decade mainly about monetizing consumer behavior tracking?

It's not just you, but I think you're putting it too nicely. Monetize is the wrong word (and I hate it because it's an unnecessary made up marketing word to boot). The correct word is exploit. Companies have become very customer hostile, while continuing to play up marketing that tells you how fantastic they are and how wonderful your life will be if you use their services. So there's also issues of hypocrisy and false advertising. These issues have always existed of course, but the abuse has gotten way out of hand. When is the last time you heard of a company being punished for false or misleading advertising? The worst part? Some customers defend such bad behaviour if it's their favourite company or if they think they aren't personally affected.

Re:New anti-privacy trends? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37735712)

Oh puh-lease...

Customers demand two very conflicting things: they want the absolute lowest price AND they want the best service.

So the companies cut costs to give you a lower price, but you won't let them cut services (without complaining at least), so they sell your data to marketers to make up the difference.

Re:New anti-privacy trends? (4, Insightful)

bennettp (1014215) | about 3 years ago | (#37735740)

The correct word is exploit. Companies have become very customer hostile, while continuing to play up marketing that tells you how fantastic they are and how wonderful your life will be if you use their services.

"Customer hostile" is not correct either. It implies that users are also customers, which we are not.

So who are the customers? The customers are the advertisers who buy aggregate customer data, or advertising space. The customers are the people who actually pay for the service.

The users are the product.

Re:New anti-privacy trends? (3, Informative)

Solandri (704621) | about 3 years ago | (#37735786)

Monetize is the wrong word (and I hate it because it's an unnecessary made up marketing word to boot). The correct word is exploit. Companies have become very customer hostile, while continuing to play up marketing that tells you how fantastic they are and how wonderful your life will be if you use their services. So there's also issues of hypocrisy and false advertising.

No, from an advertising standpoint, this is customer-friendly. Assuming you're going to be showered by ads anyway in today's media, do you want to be showered by ads 90% of which don't interest you? Or do you want ads which interest you 75% of the time? I buy a lot of computers for client businesses. I want to be informed when Dell or some other major manufacturer holds a sale. Being able to better target ads is customer-friendly - it's win/win. It's not hypocritical, nor is it false advertising (indeed, showering you with ads saying all these products will make your life better, when 90% of them don't even interest you is more false).

Where this is customer-hostile is on the issue of privacy; nothing to do with the advertising. If I want to be informed of certain types of ads, I should have to give my consent to be tracked that way. Making it the default is making violating my privacy the default.

Re:New anti-privacy trends? (5, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 3 years ago | (#37735288)

Other problem(for you) is that, unless you go off the grid entirely, you tend to stick out like a sore thumb among the happy-clicking opt-in consumers...

If you play with a tool like panopticlick [eff.org] you can observe that browsers are surprisingly identifiable by default and, worse, a lot of the tools used to make them less so are quite uncommonly used, which actually makes you stand further out of the crowd.

It isn't clear whether there is money in tracking and attempting to sell to, the vehement refuseniks of the world; but only the sharpest and most dedicated would escape if there were...

Re:New anti-privacy trends? (5, Informative)

alostpacket (1972110) | about 3 years ago | (#37735330)

The reason it's valuable to advertisers is that it improves what's called "conversion rates." On a typical ad buy of say 100,000 impressions, you might get 1-100 people actually buying the product after seeing the ad. That percentage is called the "conversion rate", and it's tracked thoroughly. There are also two types of ad campaigns: acquisition and awareness. When most people think about advertising, they think about acquisition -- the ads meant to get people to actually buy the product not long after seeing the ad.
 
  Awareness is harder to track, but it also benefits from targets ad buys (and is also tracked to the fullest extent that they can). If I want people to remember my sports store the next time they need new cleats or sports clothes, it helps if my ad is shown to people who like football.

Whether this is good or bad is up to you, but I'm just trying to explain the motivations behind targeting.

Re:New anti-privacy trends? (1)

chrismcb (983081) | about 3 years ago | (#37735454)

I've almost never bought anything based solely on an ad.

Are you sure about that? Sure you might research big purchases (even then I would be that sub consciously ads effect your decision) But what about small purchases, like the kind of toilet paper you use. How do you know about new items? You might have seen it in an ad.

You are not immune (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37735534)

Maybe other people are more easily manipulated, but generally I need to try something first or have a real (non-marketroid) person give me a recommendation before I give money away to someone.

I think it is incredibly naive to believe that you are immune to advertising. Most people think they are immune to advertisements but research shows that advertising affects how all of us make decisions.

When you go to the store to buy peanut butter do you care if you pick up Jiff or Peter Pan? I can assure you the J.M. Smucker company and ConAgraFoods care a great deal. They carefully design the packaging, pay for competitive shelf space, and run advertisements that have been shown to subtly influence which jar you grab as you walk through the grocery store.

Even with more significant purchases where you "have a real (non-marketroid) person give me a recommendation before I give money away", I think you will find advertising has influenced which products you even consider looking at. Most likely whatever led you to look at that product will subtly bias your impression of reviews and which factors you look at.

Furthermore, those 'non-marketroid' persons may well be advertisers themselves. Magazines like to review products. The magazines know that if they produce a poor review, the vender will stop buying ads in that magazine. Perhaps that is why many reviews look like paid advertisements.

Not all advertisements take the form of a banner ad or newspaper insert. Some advertisements are articles in trade magazines that are nearly verbatim quotes from a press release. Have you ever heard a politician running his mouth in front of the press? That is because he wants to get his issue and himself in the headlines (advertise). Ever notice that radio stations tend to have a 40-song playlist that they run over-and-over again? Those songs are advertisements placed by the record labels. Ever heard of product placement in movies? Those products are donated by vendors to increase brand awareness.

Businesses spend billions advertising their products because those advertisements influence which products people buy. You sir, make decisions based on advertisements whether you realize it or not.

Explains all those "bigger dick" ads! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37735162)

This is pretty entertaining, wonder if all the Facebook stuff will hold any water, and how that's going to affect this. IF it's going to affect this...?

Bubba (1)

AlienIntelligence (1184493) | about 3 years ago | (#37735178)

It's like this...

You know it's gonna be some bubba in jail that gets yer tender ass,
at least this is the nicest and cleanest smelling one.

-AI

A Violation of the Cable and Telecommunication Act (2)

zbobet2012 (1025836) | about 3 years ago | (#37735212)

What precisely they are allowed to do is tightly regulated by the Cable and Telecommunications act, specifically the sections governing "Personally Identifiable Information". A brief summer of the act can be found here [fcc.gov] . Note the following section:

Cable operators generally are prohibited from using their cable systems to collect personally identifiable information concerning any subscriber without the prior written or electronic consent of the subscriber. ... Notice to the subscriber must be in the form of a separate, written statement and must be clear and conspicuous. Notice must also be given at least once every year that the agreed upon service is provided. "Personally identifiable information" does not include any record of aggregate data which does not identify particular persons.

Whether this constitues usage of PII is dubious at best. Indeed you may see other major telcos step in and sue seeing as incorrect usage of this data gives Verizon an unfair market advantage.

Re:A Violation of the Cable and Telecommunication (1)

bmo (77928) | about 3 years ago | (#37735264)

"It's just a fucking piece of paper"

--
BMO

Re:A Violation of the Cable and Telecommunication (1)

alostpacket (1972110) | about 3 years ago | (#37735364)

I do believe they are aggregating the data but IMO even that is crossing the line for an ISP.

Re:A Violation of the Cable and Telecommunication (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37735558)

I believe that only applies to cable television (i.e. which pay-per-view movies you have watched).

Encrypted Tunnels (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 3 years ago | (#37735248)

What do I install on my remote server to make my DD-WRT router send all my traffic encrypted to a remote proxy that resends it after it's past my local ISP? All traffic, all protocols, even re-encrypting SSL, ssh and other encrypted traffic.

Protecting ourselves from this relentless snooping should be an apt-get away.

Re:Encrypted Tunnels (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37735390)

...and when your ISP does the same thing? When all ISPs are doing it? This should be banned by law.

Re:Encrypted Tunnels (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37735398)

What do I install on my remote server to make my DD-WRT router send all my traffic encrypted to a remote proxy that resends it after it's past my local ISP? All traffic, all protocols, even re-encrypting SSL, ssh and other encrypted traffic.

Protecting ourselves from this relentless snooping should be an apt-get away.

Well, but what about the ISP where you decrypt your traffic? I guess if only one ISP is doing this then you can just boycott them. But if they get away with it then everyone will be doing it soon.

Re:Encrypted Tunnels (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37735402)

start with TOR and the JonDoFox / JonDo project, you will want earlier versions of each.

What's their plan when texting becomes free? (1)

schwit1 (797399) | about 3 years ago | (#37735314)

Apps like Viber [viber.com] will seriously eat into their bottom line. Will they try and disable it or charge for Viber texts?

tub6iRl (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37735392)

Troubles o7 those

Regulate away (3, Insightful)

FyberOptic (813904) | about 3 years ago | (#37735496)

This kind of stuff is ridiculous when you're already paying a lot of money for service. But lots of companies are taking advantage of digital consumers in lots of ways already. ISPs, like Charter for example, default to giving you a search page when DNS requests fail. This page is not only full of sponsored ads, but it breaks how the internet is supposed to work when a domain doesn't exist. Fortunately, Charter finally implemented a way to fully opt out (after a long time of a useless method), but the default is still the search page which most people will never change. And we all know the stories of ISPs replacing ads in pages with your own, or inserting new ads altogether, or creating profiles of sites you visit and selling it to advertisers. Who cares about the user when there's money to be made.

We need privacy laws to stop it, because if you're counting on the free market/capitalism/blah blah to "work things out on its own" (as I've been told by people before when discussing privacy issues), then you're incredibly naive. Greed runs these companies' decisions, and when nearly every company is doing it, or there's no other company in your area to service you, then you're stuck. Time for more of those government regulations that people love to hate.

Don't worry, the sky isn't going anywhere (0)

pongo000 (97357) | about 3 years ago | (#37735508)

FTFA:

The program is opt-out so if the targeting is troubling you'll have to change your privacy settings.

Opt out and move on with your life, instead of whining about it here.

If you know about it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37735664)

It is not opt-in because Verizon wants it, else it be opt-in. The notification of such policy for the average Verizon user is likely similar to the joke about the plans for a new highway in "the hitcher's guide".

Re:Don't worry, the sky isn't going anywhere (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37735688)

Right. And then opt-out on Amazon's site. And then on Google's. And then one that one site you visited once and forgot about. And the other hundred million sites you visit every day. Sorry, but opt-out is a cop out. It's to force people to do something they don't want to (or more likely that you haven't even revealed to them) and put the blame on them for not "being smarter" about it. It's bullshit.

Re:Don't worry, the sky isn't going anywhere (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37735822)

Check *how* the program 'opts you out'
If it's a cookie (à la Phorm) then your data is still being 'aggregated' its just flagged as "oooh, opt-out, this guy must be hiding something...we wont sell it to our advertisers but we'll *give* this data to the partyvanman' "

wmo3 up (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37735656)

design aaproach. As on baby...don't RRadt's stubborn file was opened IS DYING LIKE THE

Deep inspection, spy app, or just public traffic? (1)

misnohmer (1636461) | about 3 years ago | (#37735742)

Does anyone know whether the information logged and/or sold is based only on your traffic log, deep packet inspection or is Verizon forcing a spying application on every phone. For example, if I'm browsing on a blackberry via a blackberry proxy, will Verizon log the sites or only the fact that I'm VPN'ed back to he BES server?

Outdated (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37735798)

Have to love how this is pointed out after the time period for one to opt out, yet another worthless article on /.

Outrage is prohibited (2)

jamesh (87723) | about 3 years ago | (#37735820)

Where is the outrage?

If you you read the fine print (you may need a microscope) you'll probably find that outrage is prohibited by the ToS.

besides not paying you... stealing your informatio (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37735922)

So when companies and marketing firms do focus groups and product testing, they compensate the user (aka person they are collecting marketing information on).

So now these companies, WHOM YOU PAY MONEY TO FOR PHONE SERVICE BTW, find it necessary to a) collect your information, b) sell your information, and c) to serve you advertisements (because buying their product apparently isn't enough anymore). And they want to sell YOUR information without providing YOU compensation for it. AND, they want you to know, even if you "OPT OUT" of giving away virtually EVERY identifiable piece of information pertaining to our DIGITAL LIVES, they will STILL SEND YOU ADS.

Wow, back in the day, a purveyor of products/services wouldn't have dared steal, cheat, and fraud their customers AND how openly!!!

I mean, facebook, nobody should have been surprised about them selling your information, it's a free service. Same with LinkedIn, oh, nope, LinkedIn MAKES you pay AND mines your data AND sells your data. Ouch!!! Very brazen!!!

Open Source anyone? Corporations sure are doing a good job of stealing, lying, and cheating you at EVERY CORNER.

OH, they told you to your face that they were going to basically fraud you (aka make money off of you without your explicit permission, at your behest, etc). You will never, singlehandedly, give your permission for ANY of the information you give. Eventually you will forget that this information is being "stolen" from you, and yet these corporations will STILL be making money off of you. You will NEVER have been compensated ONCE for this. You will NEVER have given your express written/verbal/elsewise permission for EVEN ONE of these times your information was collected and shared.

Companies want to find out about your habits, they can pay you, the old fashioned way. There is no substitute for doing things right (both in an ethical/morale sense and in a sense of doing something effectively, that's both of those simultaneously, as in, effective to the limits of being ethical).

Opt-out Link (4, Informative)

Orphaze (243436) | about 3 years ago | (#37736000)

I just received an e-mail about this a few days ago. Here is the link you can use to opt out of this:

www.vzw.com/myprivacy

Login with your account info, and you can then opt out all of the phone lines on your account. Be sure to get all three separate options on that page.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?